Here are all the reasons why you need to avoid processed sugar
Over years we are hearing that consuming high amounts of processed sugar is bad for our body as it increases our blood sugar levels and puts us at risk of having diabetes. But that’s not all, this World Diabetes Month, let’s understand what white processed sugar does to our body, besides increasing sugar levels.
Excessive consumption of white processed sugar not only increases the risk of diabetes but also disrupts the healing, repair and growth process of our body’s cells, plus it weakens immunity and brain cells.
Sugar makes us happy because it creates a sudden spike in blood sugar levels and ‘serotonin’ that gives us a feeling of happiness, and then that changes to frustration and cravings when that ‘temporary happiness’ comes down. Then we get into a vicious cycle of sugar cravings to keep up with the energy levels and to feel good.
Sugar releases dopamine in the brain which can cause an addiction to sugar and sugary food.
High fructose from sugar leads to high levels of uric acid and even increases gout pain for people suffering from hyperuricemia.
Sugar makes the blood vessels stiff, leading to cardiovascular problems.
Too much of sugar causes glycation. This is a process wherein sugar molecules act with the protein fibre making them distorted and stiff. Collagen and elastin are the badly affected protein fibre by glycation, which makes them discoloured, weak and less springy. All these effects are seen on the skin’s surface as limpness, lines, wrinkles and loss of radiance.
High amounts of fructose from sugar can turn into fat, and causes fat accumulation in the liver.
Overconsumption of sugar leads to a high triglycerides level.
Sugar is empty calories and causes tooth decay because this feeds the harmful bacteria in the mouth.
Sugar causes fermentation in the body which creates an anaerobic condition. Cancer cells breed in such conditions. Bacteria and yeast feed on sugar molecules and grows into an infection or other illnesses.
Excessive consumption of sugar keeps the body acidic and suppresses the satiety hormone leptin and increases hunger hormone-ghrelin. Therefore, we eat more and gain weight. You should definitely start reducing your weight because obesity may cause health-related problems.
Obesity is often associated with hyperinsulinemia (increased insulin in the blood) which automatically decreases insulin receptors making our body insulin resistant. When cells become insulin resistant, they can’t intake glucose and hence, blood glucose levels start rising, causing hyperglycemia. If this is not taken care of, then it will turn into diabetes. Too much insulin in the blood also decreases the excretion of sodium by the kidneys. That means the sodium that is not excreted will stack up in the blood and will also absorb more water. Too much water retention causes edema. This will put pressure on your heart causing increased blood pressure. This will ultimately result in hypertension. So we need to control our sugar consumption, which will in turn keep the weight in check as well.
Focus on avoiding white processed sugar and switch to organic jaggery, raw unheated honey, raisins, and figs in moderation to control sugar cravings or to get natural sweetness over artificial options. Focus on staying active by doing any form of exercise and brisk walking for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Also, a post-meal walk works in controlling the sugar levels naturally. So let’s be wise and avoid the consumption of white processed sugar as much as possible, to help the body heal and to keep your sugar levels in check.
(The writer is Chief Nutrition Officer, Luke Coutinho Holistic Healing Systems. She is aclinical nutritionist with a focus on healthy lifestyle choices.)
Photo courtesy: Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash